October 8 – The US and Mexico have gone joint top of the 8-team final qualifying group for the Qatar 2022 World Cup after four matches, but a feisty Canada are not letting them run away with qualification, forcing a 1-1 draw in Mexico City and sitting two points behind them in the group.
It was a significant result for the Canadians who lost by a goal in the Gold Cup semi-finals to Mexico in July. It is the first time Canada has secured a draw in Mexico in World Cup qualification since 1981.
Mexico took the lead in the 21st minute when Hirving Lozano, back from a neck injury that hospitalised him at the Gold Cup, found fullback Jorge Sanchez with a pass that Sanchez finished with his left foot.
Canada pulled level in the 42nd minute when their star man Alphonso Davies slipped a pass through to Jonathan Osorio, whose left-footed shot beat Guillermo Ochoa in Mexico’s goal.
This is a three-match international window for Concacaf’s teams. Mexico are at home to Honduras next, with Canada away to bottom team Jamaica.
US’s new star earns his stripes
It was Jamaica who were on the receiving end of another emerging US starlet. Dallas FC forward Ricardo Pepi scored both goals in a 2-0 victory over Jamaica at the Q2 Stadium in Austin, Texas.
The goals make 18-year-old Pepi the youngest-ever player to score in consecutive World Cup qualification matches for the US – scored in the 4-1 win over Honduras in San Pedro Sula in September. A match that kick started a US qualification campaign that had struggled to ignite until that point.
The US now head to Panama for their next qualifier.
Panama will be keen to get their own qualifying campaign back on track having been beaten by El Salvador 1-0 via a debut international goal from Enrico Duenas.
That result leaves both teams with identical records and in a tie for fourth place on five points.
Only the top three teams are guaranteed qualification for Qatar 2022. The fourth placed team qualifies for the intercontinental play-off.
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